2009 California Civil Code - Section 3172-3176.5 :: Article 7. Enforcement Of Rights Arising From Stop Notice And Bonded Stop NoticeCIVIL CODE
3172. An action against the owner or construction lender to enforce payment of the claim stated in the stop notice or bonded stop notice may be commenced at any time after 10 days from the date of the service of the stop notice upon either the owner or construction lender and shall be commenced not later than 90 days following the expiration of the period within which claims of lien must be recorded as prescribed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 3109). No such action shall be brought to trial or judgment entered until the expiration of said 90-day period. No money shall be withheld by reason of any such notice longer than the expiration of such 90-day period unless such action is commenced. If no such action is commenced, such notice shall cease to be effective and such moneys shall be paid or delivered to the contractor or other person to whom they are due. Notice of commencement of any such action shall be given within five days after commencement thereof to the same persons and in the same manner as provided for service of a stop notice or bonded stop notice. 3173. In case such action is commenced as provided in Section 3172 but is not brought to trial within two years after the commencement thereof, the court may in its discretion dismiss the action for want of prosecution. 3174. Upon the dismissal of an action to enforce a stop notice or bonded stop notice, unless expressly stated to be without prejudice, or upon a judgment rendered therein against the claimant, the stop notice or bonded stop notice shall cease to be effective and the moneys withheld shall be paid or delivered to the person to whom they are due. 3175. Any number of persons who have given stop notices or bonded stop notices may join in the same action and when separate actions are commenced the court first acquiring jurisdiction may consolidate them. Upon the motion of the owner or construction lender the court shall require all claimants to the moneys withheld pursuant to stop notices and bonded stop notices to be impleaded in one action, to the end that the respective rights of all parties may be adjudicated therein. 3176. In any action against an owner or construction lender to enforce payment of a claim stated in a bonded stop notice, the prevailing party shall be entitled to collect from the party held liable by the court for payment of the claim, reasonable attorney's fees in addition to other costs and in addition to any liability for damages. The court, upon notice and motion by a party, shall determine who is the prevailing party for purposes of this section, whether or not the suit proceeds to final judgment. Except as otherwise provided by this section, the prevailing party shall be the party who recovered a greater relief in the action. The court may also determine that there is no prevailing party. Where an action has been voluntarily dismissed or dismissed pursuant to a settlement of the case, there shall be no prevailing party for purposes of this section. Where the defendant alleges in his or her answer that he or she tendered to the plaintiff the full amount to which he or she was entitled, and thereupon deposits in court for the plaintiff, the amount so tendered, and the allegation is found to be true, then the defendant is deemed to be a prevailing party. 3176.5. If the plaintiff is the prevailing party in any action against an owner or construction lender to enforce payment of a claim stated in a bonded stop notice, any amount awarded on the claim shall include interest at the legal rate calculated from the date the bonded stop notice is served upon the owner or construction lender pursuant to Section 3172.
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